A Life Update: Never a Dull Moment

Health & Fitness

You may have noticed it’s been unusually quiet around here lately… There’s been a lot going on and it’s been a lot of work just keeping my days running smoothly, let alone having time to write. With only about 54 days until the wedding now, life has been busy. But I finally have a moment to jot a few notes down and share the two biggest updates that have pulled me away from blogging, Instagramming, and all the social media things.

Now, I found myself in some trouble before for not doing this, so I’ll preface this update by saying, I am fine and I will be fine. With that, let’s dive in!

When Jon and I became engaged, following the congratulatory period, our married friends and family warned us how much work planning a wedding is and how stressful it can be. Like most never-been-married, newly engaged couples, we thought that we would be fine. We’re both Type A after all, so we would plan and prepare like we do with everything else in our life. We would take on a large portion of it ourselves including sourcing most of our decor (plates, silverware, glassware, linens, etc), renovate a vintage trailer, and ultimately having the biggest DIY wedding of our crafty dreams.

All of it has been going mostly smooth and we’d paced ourselves over the last year so as not to become overwhelmed with all of the things piling up. But when we hit the 120-days-until-the-wedding-mark, things started going south for us, fast. It was day after day of small, but annoying bumps in the road with everything in our life: vendors were no longer able to do our wedding, the trailer renovations were taking longer than expected, our dishwasher died, my gym closed, my car started having issues. You name it, it was happening to us.

But what we weren’t prepared for or expecting are probably two of the most difficult things in life to go through:

  1. Getting bad news about the health and well-being of someone you love
  2. Getting bad news about your own health

And when they both happen within a month of each other and just a couple months before your wedding? It makes things pretty stressful.

At around 120 days before the wedding, my mom started having health issues. She’s been a healthy woman all of her life so her sudden onset of symptoms (and pretty scary ones at that), were worrisome. She was in and out of doctors appointments, tests, and even had a few hospital stays as her symptoms continued to worsen. Finally, at just about the 90 day, at the end of one of her most recent hospital stays, we received a diagnosis: cirrhosis of the liver. Moving forward, she would need a liver transplant.

The best way I can describe it is that life since the diagnosis has been different. It’s been a total lifestyle change, especially for my mom, but also for my dad, Jon and me (I’m an only child). It’s continued to be appointment after appointment and test after test, learning to manage her disease, change her diet, etc. It’s been a trying time for all of us on our emotions and patience. In the last 30 days, it has finally felt like we were getting things back under control and hitting our new normal as my mom has stabilized and her symptoms have improved.

Which brings us to last week and #2: bad news about my health. Since October of last year, my body has totally changed with counting my macros and starting weightlifting. I’ve lost about 20 lbs and feel phenomenal. But with weight loss and things shifting around again, I noticed what can best be described as this weird muscle-y thing on my right quad. It gets bigger when I engage my quad muscle and it felt more or less like a muscle in my leg. If you know me in real life, chances are I’ve had you feel it and you may have even noticed it on my leg without me pointing it out. Or, take a look at the picture below and notice the lump on my quad:

I didn’t think much of it, other than it was weird, but also kind of a cool, party trick. I asked many people about it: coaches, physicians, friends, and family. No one seemed concerned about it and the most common consensus was that I must’ve torn the muscle and it balled up. It was treated as such but it was still strange to me because I had no recollection of a pulled or torn muscle and there was never any pain associated with the area. Every time I’d go in to the doctor, I’d ask about my leg: Any other ideas? Will it ever go away? Then, two weeks ago my physical therapist finally said: If you want, we can refer you to get an ultrasound on the area so you can have peace of mind. Immediately I said, Sure why not?! And so I scheduled an appointment.

Here’s another picture, my knee is at the top of this picture:

Last Tuesday, about a week after the referral, I went in for my appointment, blissfully unaware of what was about to happen. This was for a torn muscle, after all. The doctor went over normal diagnostic questions with me: Does it hurt? No. Did you injure it? Not that I can recall. How are you sleeping? Normally I sleep but fine but lately not so great. Oh, why is that? My mom is sick and I’m getting married in 60 days. Do you have back pain? Sometimes, but I think it’s from deadlifts. Has it gotten bigger? Maybe, but I lost weight so it’s hard to tell if it got bigger or just became more noticeable.

After 20 or so questions, I hop up on the table and he puts the ultrasound machine on my right quad. He asks me if I can tell where it is on the screen, and I point at what looks like a clearly defined circle and say, I assume it’s that blob. I’m correct and he continues to move the device around my lump, take measurements, move my leg to different positions, look at new images in different points and examine the ultrasound Doppler for the area. By the time he’s done, he’s grown quite quiet and I’ve grown quite worried by his silence. The assistant leaves the room and the doctor breaks the news to me: I have one big tumor in my leg, possibly two, but the second one is much smaller. It’s inside my rectus femoris muscle and while it’s not unheard of, it’s not common and it’s also quite large. He tells me that, regardless of if it is cancerous, they will want to remove it immediately due to the location and size. He tells me the recovery is a minimum of six weeks until I can even do light cardio again. I tell him again that I’m getting married in eight weeks. I start crying.

He refers me for an MRI and tells me he’s going to personally call an Orthopaedic surgeon that afternoon so that I can get a consult immediately. He urges me to be seen as soon as possible, before the end of the week if possible. His sense of urgency continued to add to my concerns.

I left the office sobbing and the next few days are an emotional, stressful blur. I get an MRI scheduled for Friday morning and then an Orthopaedic consult for Friday afternoon. The surgeon is going to ask for the MRI results to be rushed in time for my afternoon consult.

I was so nervous Friday morning, anxious for my MRI since I’m claustrophobic, and sick to my stomach about all that may lay ahead for me. I spent about 45 minutes inside the machine with my eyes squeezed shut trying to calm myself down and stay still. Only during a quick break from the machine when they injected the contrast dye in my arm, did I feel like I could breathe again.

A few hours later we were at the Orthopaedic surgeon’s office.  It’s only been four hours since I finished my MRI but the assistant already has the results up on the computer.  When the doctor walks in and sees the scans, he immediately smiles and informs us that my large mass is an intramuscular lipoma, a benign fatty tumor. And what’s better? It can wait until after the wedding to be removed. Never have I been happier to have something labeled on my body as fatty!

My surgery is scheduled for mid-November, once we’re comfortably back from our honeymoon and life, hopefully, is a bit calmer. It will still be a long road ahead of me as an atypical lipoma of this type is extremely rare (especially for women), it’s inside my quad muscle (versus in the skin), and it’s fairly large, measuring approximately 10cm x 4cm x 1.5cm. I will have a minimum of a six week recovery before I can start doing light cardio and it will most likely be even longer before I can get back to the level of activity that I am currently at.

While it isn’t all happy news, I am glad to say that we are all out of the hospital and on our way towards healthier and happier lives!